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Responding to emergencies and building resilience in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL)

Kenya is undergoing a transition period since a devolution system was introduced in 2013 to improve service delivery by the government to reach the grassroots, thereby reducing levels of marginalization. In order to contribute to the clarification of counties’ and the government’s roles and responsibilities, ACTED has actively engaged relevant stakeholders at the county and community levels to assist in bettering the existing systems and linking the counties with the local communities in arid and semi-arid lands. ACTED has supported community groups to prepare specific and comprehensive community disaster preparedness and response plans. In addition, ACTED has continued to provide emergency aid through food distributions and the rehabilitation of critical livelihood and water, sanitation and hygiene assets, especially in Mandera County.

Responding to emergencies in marginalized communities while improving service delivery and peaceful co-existence

The arid and semi-arid lands are characterized by unfavourable climate change, poor infrastructure, increasing conflict and historical marginalization that undermine the resilience of affected populations, making it difficult for vulnerable households to recover in between crises. Inter-communal conflicts being key drivers of food insecurity, destruction and displacements in the region, ACTED worked in Mandera, Samburu, and Baringo counties to provide food and cash voucher transfers, as well as livelihood support to 16,866 individuals. Inter-community good relations were promoted through participatory disease surveillance, the formation of community disaster management committees, and linking these to relevant stakeholders for better service delivery, thereby mitigating resource-based conflicts.

Supporting the development of Community Disaster Management Plans

In 2015, ACTED has continued to work closely with communities in Samburu, Baringo, Turkana and Mandera to develop and implement their Community Disaster Management Plans, with the support of County Government structures such as the National Drought Management Authority and relevant County Line Ministries. ACTED has actively organised advocacy forums to link Community Disaster Management committees with the County Officials for support in addressing the dire needs as identified by communities

Support to institutional structures under the framework of Ending Drought Emergencies

In 2015, ACTED built a strong partnership with Kenya’s National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) to support county-level early warning systems. As such, NDMA’s co-ordination efforts with other key stakeholders were accompanied, and the information gap between NDMA and communities was bridged through piloting and scaling up initiatives such as the Early Warning Flag System, dissemination of early warning information through other platforms such as SMS, radio. In line with NDMA’s pillars for Ending Drought Emergencies, ACTED has participated in a common strategy on achieving peace and security; climate-proofed infrastructure, health, skilled, and resourceful human capital; promoting secure sustainable livelihoods; drought risk management; and institutional development and knowledge management.

A need to venture more into governance, and responding to emergencies more efficiently

In 2015, ACTED’s programming in Kenya was centred on emergency response, improvement of the Early Warning System, and advocacy. In 2016, while maintaining a capacity to respond to emergencies in a flexible, convenient, and efficient manner, ACTED will continue to work with the communities to link their development plans with the county integrated development plans as a sure way of enhancing service delivery and improving disaster preparedness. ACTED is looking into increasing the level of advocacy by teaming up with other actors dealing with governance so as to improve the involvement of civil society in service delivery.

Governance and accountability at the county level   

The nascent devolution system in Kenya transfers responsibilities and resources to the County Governments, creating an opportunity for improved disaster preparedness and response activities with stronger inter and intra linkages with communities. ACTED has been building strategic linkages between community institutions (Community Disaster Management Committees) and County Government officials while supporting CDMCs to actively engage and lobby the latter for service delivery and support. With technical support from Transparency International, ACTED has aimed at improving the quality and accountability of aid in Samburu, Mandera and West Pokot by training communities on accountability and linking them to referral complaints and feedback systems.

Strengthening resilience and development in arid and semi-arid lands of Northern Kenya

In 2015, ACTED intended to foster programming in Kenya which emphasizes resilience building and livelihood interventions. The completion of a Livestock Market Assessment in Turkana County, in partnership with the Kenya Markets Trust inTrust in 2014, was used as a strong experience base from which to diagnose and address the challenges related to livestock and agricultural livelihoods faced by vulnerable communities in particular. Improvements in market systems can help to foster resilience through ensuring long-term, sustainable solutions that put the poorest households at the center of the market system.

Partners in 2015

European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO), French Embassy

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